If you are a person of faith, finding yourself a local community can be a good help to fit in locally, find new friends, prevent homesickness, have a safety net, keep your faith burning, keep your relationship with God alive. Maybe you are just now searching for something greater that surpasses us humans on this Earth. Perhaps you’d like to get married here or have your child baptised. Or maybe you just need someone to talk to who’ll listen or offer advice. This guide offers some English-speaking contacts and some local communities of many faiths represented in Brno.
ANGLICAN/EPISCOPAL CHURCH (Anglikánská Církev)
A regular monthly Anglican service held every second Sunday of every month at 5:00 PM. Services last for about an hour and are followed by light refreshments. Also weddings, marriage prep, baptism and counselling.
- The Upper Room, Jesuit Church, Mozartova St.
- 737 039 082
- email@example.com (Rev. Nathanial)
BRNO INTERNATIONAL CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP (BICF)
A Christian church for those who speak English in Brno. Services include worship, sermon and fellowship. Numerous other communal events. Services: Sundays at 5:00 PM.
- Dusíkova 5, Brno - Lesná
- 738 646 125 (Matt Blake)
ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH (Římskokatolická církev)
A Catholic community that meets each Sunday for mass in English. There are members from many different nations, creating a strong spiritual community. This spirit is expressed through prayer, inclusion, and mutual support. Services: every Sunday at 12:15 PM. Also weddings, marriage prep, baptism and counselling.
- Jesuit Church, Mozartova St.
- 605 059 375 (Fr Ladislav Nosek)
REDEEMED CHRISTIAN CHURCH OF GOD (RCCG)
RCCG Open Heavens, Brno is a Bible-based church, an international congregation with Christians from many nationalities. Services: Sundays at 11:00 AM.
- Malinovského nám. 4, Brno - centre
Czech Christian Churches
With interpreting during services
APOSTOLIC CHURCH (Apoštolská Církev)
We sing a few songs with a band, have a short motivational speech and also listen to the sermon. It is only up to you if and how you participate. One thing is sure, you will be warmly welcomed. Services: Sunday 10:30 AM.
- Životského 10
- 739 600 006 (František Apetauer)
BRETHREN CHURCH (Církev bratrská)
A young and progressive parish of a church with a history going back to the Moravian Brethren. Many English-speaking members including two foreign missionary families. Services: Sunday 10:00 AM
- Okružní 1
- 736 779 216
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Petr Dvořáček)
A church for people who do not like church. A church as a place where people feel like they are home, where everybody is respected and accepted. A place where it is not hard to find a relationship with God, if you are truly seeking. Services: Sunday 9:00 and 11:00 AM
- Café Práh, Ve Vaňkovce 1, Brno
- 703 437 994
POTTER'S HOUSE CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP
Potters House Brno is a local Pentecostal church with a global vision. Founded in 2004 in a powerful move of God we continue to see God adding people to our church. Please join us for worship at our regular bilingual services or enjoy one of our special events.
- Kounicova 13
- 739 842 187
- email@example.com (Tendai Mazarura)
CZECH BAPTIST UNION (Bratrská jednota baptistů)
Local branch of the global Baptist church.
- Smetanova 20
- 734 681 590
CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP (Křesťanské společenství)
An open community of people of all generations who have established a personal relationship with God and want to develop it together and help establish that relationship with those who do not have it.
- Veslařská 56, Brno - Jundrov
- Services: Sunday 9:30 AM
- KSBrno@KSBrno.cz (Leoš Pavlata)
WORD OF LIFE (Slovo života)
Our church belongs to the broad family of Christian churches and our desire is to live our Christian faith in today's world. Faith in Jesus Christ is old, but we are convinced that it still has a firm place in the life of today's people and society. Services: Sunday 10:00 AM
- Nové Sady 37
- 734 167 357
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Michal Vaněk)
UNITED METHODIST CHURCH (Evangelická církev metodistická)
Local branch of the global Methodist church. Bilingual service in Czech and English. Also weddings, marriage prep, counselling. Services: Sunday 9:30 AM
- Lýskova 30, Brno - Bystrc
- 732 491 494
- email@example.com (Jana Daněčková)
Other churches (without interpreting)
CZECH HUSSITE CHURCH (Církev československá husitská)
One of the three largest Czech churches founded on the teaching of the Czech Reformer Jan Hus. Marriage preparation, weddings and counselling possible.
- Botanická 1
- Services: Sunday 10:00 AM
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Sandra Silná)
EVANGELICAL CHURCH OF CZECH BRETHREN (Českobratrská církev evangelická)
The Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren is the largest Czech Protestant church with its history going back to the Reformation. It has 6 parishes in Brno. Services: Sunday 10:00 AM. Marriage preparation, weddings and counselling possible.
- Komenského nám. 6 (the Red Church)
- 724 083 774 (Jana Hofmanová)
EVANGELICAL CHURCH OF CZECH BRETHREN (Českobratrská církev evangelická)
The Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren is the largest Czech Protestant church with its history going back to the Reformation. It has 6 parishes in Brno. Services: Sunday 9:00 AM. Weddings, marriage prep, counselling possible.
- Lidická 79
- 739 244 630 (Alexandra Jacobea)
WESLEYAN CHURCH (Církev Wesleyánská)
Czech branch of the Wesleyan (Methodist) Church, founded by American missionaries. Based at a large community centre together with the BICF (above). Services: Sunday 10:00 AM
- Dusíkova 5, Brno - Lesná
- email@example.com (Ivo Vobejda)
ORTHODOX CHURCH (Pravoslavná církev) - Services vary in Czech, Old-Slavic, Greek
Orthodox Church founded in 1920 and based on the tradition of Sts. Cyril Orthodox church worldwide. Services: Sunday 9:00 AM.
- St. Wenceslas, Gorazdova st.
- 542 214 030 (Josef Fejsak)
Services in other languages
DEUTSCHER GOTTESDIENST (Mass in German)
- Holy Family Church, Grohova 16
- Services: 2nd Wednesday of each month, at 5:00 PM
- Contact form on the website
MSZA ŚW. DLA POLAKÓW (Mass in Polish)
Services: 2nd Sunday of each month, at 6:00 PM
- Minoritská 1
- 542 215 600
PAROHIA ORTODOXA BRNO (Romanian Orthodox Church)
Services: Sunday 10:00 AM
- Vranovská 48, Brno
- 602 586 094 (Christian Popescu)
GREEK-CATHOLIC CHURCH (Řeckokatolická církev)
The Apostolic Exarchate of the Greek Catholic Church in the Czech Republic. The Catholic Church of byzantine rite in this country. Services: Sunday 8:30 AM (Old Slavic) 10:00 AM (Ukrainian).
- St. Joseph, Josefská 1.
- 731 621 256 (Serhiy Matskula)
JEWISH COMMUNITY (Židovská obec Brno)
The Jewish Community of Brno, worshipping in the only surviving synagogue Agudas achim from 1936. Services: Saturday 9:00
- Skořepka 13, Brno
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Jáchym Kanarek)
BUDDHIST CENTRE (Buddhismus diamantové cesty)
The Diamond Way meditation centre in Brno is open to everyone interested in Buddhism. The regular programme includes public lectures, guided common meditations, and explanations for newcomers. We are the part of the Karma Kagyu lineage and our main teachers are Lama Ole Nydahl and the 17th Karmapa, Trinley Thaye Dorje. Services: Thursdays 8 p.m. in English
- Trtílkova 18, 612 00 Brno
- 608 976 105
- email@example.com (Petr Gola, Jakub Šardický)
The Buddha Sitting is a registered organization replacing Sótó zen Czech Republic, established in 2004. It was founded by disciples of Master Sando Kaisen to carry out activities aiming to spread Sando Kaisen's teachings. Meetings: every Monday and Friday at 6.30 p. m.
- Třída Kapitána Jaroše 26, Brno
- 734 131 419
Prabhupad Bhavan is a preaching centre of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, founded by Sri Srimad A.C. Bhaktivédánta Swami Prabhupada. Public programmes take place on Sundays at 2pm.
- Durďákova 34, Brno
- 739 634 848
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Lukáš Trojánek)
MUSLIM MOSQUE (Islámská nadace v Brně)
The religious and cultural centre of Muslim believers in Brno.
- Vídeňská 38a, Brno
- email@example.com (Muneeb Alrawi)
The religious setting of the CR
The Czech Republic is frequently described as one of the most atheistic countries in Europe. This is based in part upon the answer (or more precisely, the lack of an answer) to a voluntary census question about religious affiliation. The Czech distrust of authority means that many will not tell the government anything if they don’t have to. So, there is almost certainly some non-declaration of faith together with fairly widespread agnosticism, rather than militant atheism. But it is certainly the case that the level of church attendance here is far lower than in neighbouring countries, particularly in comparison with Poland or Slovakia.
It is therefore rather ironic that three holy men from many centuries past, St. Cyril, St. Methodius and Jan Hus, are responsible for Czechs having public holidays on 5 and 6 July each year. St. Cyril and St. Methodius, who were brothers from Thessaloniki, are celebrated by the Christian Church as 9th century missionaries to the Slavs. As part of their missionary endeavour, they created an alphabet which allowed the language of the Slavic people to be written down for the first time. This enabled the scriptures to be translated and the creation of a liturgy in the language of the people.
Jan Hus inspired what is known as the Bohemian Reformation, over one hundred years before Martin Luther. Hus was very much influenced by the teaching and writings of the early English Church reformer John Wycliffe and called for reform within the Roman Catholic Church. He preached and wrote in Czech as he wanted his hearers and readers to fully understand what he was saying. He was also responsible for the introduction of diacritics into Czech spelling in order to represent each sound by a single symbol. (He’s the one to blame for all those ž, š, č, ě and ř etc that are such a challenge to non-Czech speakers!) He also wanted worshippers to be able to receive communion in both kinds – both bread and wine – and for lay people not to be forbidden to receive the chalice.
By the mid-16th century the majority of Czechs were Protestants, but growing opposition from the ruling (and devoutly Catholic) Habsburg family led to the crushing of the Reformation movement in 1620. Everyone was forced to either officially revert to Catholicism, go into hiding or leave the country. This led, among other things, to the international diffusion of the works of the last Bishop of the Unity of Brethren (Bohemian Brethren), Jan Amos Comenius, an education reformer whose methods were far ahead of their time (some are only now being embraced in today’s modern schools), and the emergence in the 18th century of the Moravian Church (Moravian Brethren) in Herrnhut, Germany, and their subsequent missionary activities all over the world.
The Czech National Revival of the 19th and early 20th centuries, which led to the establishment of the newly independent state of Czechoslovakia in 1918, was very much based around the recovery and use of the Czech language, in opposition to the Germanization of government, education and culture in Bohemia and Moravia that had taken place under the auspices of the Austrian Empire. Within this “Slavic” context, SS. Cyril and St. Methodius and Jan Hus are honoured more as cultural heroes than for their proclamation of the Christian faith.
The establishment of Czechoslovakia following the end of the First World War also saw two major changes in Czech church life. Just two months after independence, the Czech-speaking Lutheran and Calvinist Churches agreed to amalgamate to form a united Czech Protestant Church – the Českobratrská církev evangelická (ČCE) / Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren.
A year later, on Christmas Eve 1919, numerous Roman Catholic priests celebrated Midnight Mass in Czech rather than Latin. They then petitioned the Pope to be allowed to continue doing so, but were refused – mass in the vernacular not being authorised until the 1960s. Therefore in 1920 between 10 to15% of Czechoslovak Roman Catholics broke away to form the Czechoslovak Church – since 1971 the Církev československá husitská (CČSH) / Czechoslovak Hussite Church.
After WW2, the Church and people in it experienced a very hard period under the Communist regime. The persecution took many forms and involved both the Church as a whole, as well its individual members. It included the complete liquidation of the independent church press, the expulsion of the Church from communal life and restriction to activities carried out inside church buildings, the supervision of all priests and pastors by appointed government officials, the elimination of religious orders, unjustified internment and imprisonment of church dignitaries and many other opponents. The Communist regime also attempted to rewrite and modify the history of the Czech nation so that the Church was portrayed in a negative light. For this purpose, the state also used financial resources to produce ideologically twisted ‘historical’ films.
Individuals were subjected to judicial and less institutionalized murder, imprisonment and torture (which either killed them or damaged their health so much that they died shortly after release), and to severe and systematic discrimination in access to higher (and often even secondary) education and more important positions in society. The Czechoslovak persecution of the Church is commonly referred to as one of the most cruel activities within the post-war Communist part of Europe.
After the return of democracy in 1989, people could again openly declare their faith and religion and churches also gradually reclaimed their place in public life, charitable activities and youth work.
In 2012, more than twenty years after the Velvet Revolution, the three largest churches in the Czech Republic – the Roman Catholic Church, the ČCE and the CČSH – along with a number of smaller churches were granted final restitution of their land and property confiscated by the Communist regime, or financial compensation for what could no longer be returned. In turn, the financial support they have been receiving from the state will slowly be reduced, year by year, to zero in 2030.
Czechs and their attitude to religion
Today, the average Czech is usually very reserved or almost negative when speaking about questions of faith, yet often quite surprised and/or apologetic about such an attitude when meeting an active expat person of faith in person. Often, that negative attitude has been brought about and/or reinforced by a bad experience when attending an occasional church service. Sadly, many Czech churches, both Roman Catholic and Protestant, are not very welcoming to newcomers.
One reason for this lack of welcome is a hangover from Communism. During the nearly forty-two years of Communist rule in Czechoslovakia, those who attended church worship, those who were church members, all suffered. They were restricted in the area of employment, often being forced to do only menial tasks or manual labour. Their children were limited regarding educational opportunities. Church congregations therefore turned inward, seeking to mutually support each other. They were not particularly welcoming to any outsider who wanted to join them, suspecting such individuals to be informers.
The second reason is not unique to the Czech Republic – it exists all over the world too. It is the attitude that those who decide to come to church should already ‘know what to do’. They shouldn’t need any explanation when to sit or stand, or what page to be on to follow and join in the service – they should know! Yet there is now an almost completely un-churched generation who cannot be expected to know what ‘we do in church’.
The negative attitude is frequently reinforced by the local media, which tend to concentrate mainly on the Roman Catholic Church, with an emphasis on strict authority, pompousness, sometimes even hypocrisy, linked with dogmas, property, etc. – precisely the very stereotypes that people dislike. There is very little positive reporting of generally beneficial activities or churches that are welcoming and growing.
Nevertheless, religious freedom and free expression of faith are now not only guaranteed by law, but also generally respected as a personal (albeit private) right, i.e. Czechs do not mind if someone is a believer as long as their faith (whichever one) is not forced on others around them…
(Written with contributions by Ricky Yates and Don Sparling, February 2018)